Delivering true 5G: are we ready?
It’s already been an exciting year for 5G technology, as we finally move the needle on commercial deployments and early adoption of new use cases. We discussed with Ciena’s Joe Marsella how mobile and wholesale network operators are gearing up to capitalize on the benefits and opportunities of 5G – and how technologies such as Network Slicing will play a key role.
By Joe Marsella – What many may not realize is that 5G will initially leverage 4G and coexist with it for many years to come, rather than immediately obsolete it. Consumers will have plenty of time to swap out their 4G-enabled devices for 5G-capable ones with the pace of change largely dictated by how attractive the new 5G enable apps and monthly plans will be. However, we simply can’t discount the amazing network performance that 5G will provide.
We’ve already witnessed 5G New Radios (NR) providing impressive wireless performance gains, even while connected to the existing 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) in what’s referred to as 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) mode. This configuration supports early enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) applications such as HD video streaming. The next evolution of 5G performance will be driven by 5G Stand-Alone (SA) mode, where 5G NRs are connect to a 5G Core alongside Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) to support massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) and ultra-reliable Low-Latency Communications (urLLC). These latter two uses cases will enable a wide range of new applications for telemedicine, industrial automation, self-driving vehicles, and public safety among others.
Operators globally have been focused on 5G rollouts in densely populated metro areas in an effort to offer the base solution to their masses of customers as quickly as possible. It always comes down to bandwidth – and more of it! And, numerous city centers are on the brink of 5G transformation. In the future, we’ll see metro areas morph into Smart Cities, adopt driverless vehicles, embrace tech-powered emergency responder services, and fuel hubs for new innovation centers and businesses.
On the other hand, the outlook in rural areas – with lower end-user densities – will lag metro 5G rollouts. While government entities have taken steps in the right direction to help close the digital divide by offering funding to deliver high-speed bandwidth service to rural communities, there’s still a long way to go. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged 5G, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, Skills, Technology
5G is your business – even if you are in the wireline business
5G is not just about updating handsets, radios, and antennas. Learn about the impacts and opportunities 5G will bring for regional wireline service providers.
By Eric Danielson – 5G is at the forefront of current technology discussions, promising orders of magnitude improvements in data rates, latency, number of connected devices, and overall traffic volumes when compared to today’s 4G LTE. This new generation of mobile network technology will shape and enable the evolution of augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), IoT, esports, and Industry 4.0 applications and use cases. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are investing heavily in 5G, but even if you’re a regional provider of wireline services, 5G will affect your business, bringing substantial new opportunities and threats.
5G is more than upgrading the handsets, radios, and antennas that comprise the Radio Access Network (RAN). Most of the journey content takes from the end device to the data center, where accessed content is hosted, is over (fixed) wireline networks. As 5G removes the last-mile access bottleneck, the unstoppable traffic demand of bandwidth-hungry users and applications will pulse through the entire network.
The first major impact falls over the infrastructure that connects the cell towers to the MNOs’ switching offices. It will need to deliver much higher capacity to a larger number of sites, boosting the wholesale backhaul connectivity business that relies heavily on regional infrastructure service providers.
5G New Radios (NR) will provide much faster download speeds by leveraging millimeter wave wireless spectrum – high frequency electromagnetic waves that don’t propagate far or well through buildings and obstacles – creating the need for many more small cells, much closer to subscribers, humans and machines. It means numerous new sites to interconnect, each one requiring 1Gb/s or (much) higher bandwidth, depending on the expected traffic profile. Mobile backhaul has been a key growth driver for fiber players in recent years and as it surges with 5G deployments, a new competitive environment will arise.
Another significant shift on the wireline fabric will come from the transition of radio networks to centralized/cloud-based architectures (C-RAN model). The radio intelligence, the Baseband Unit (BBU) that once sat on the base of the tower, will be moved to centralized locations and virtualized for improved cost and performance efficiencies.
In 4G, these high-capacity and low-latency fronthaul connections between Radio Heads (RRHs) and BBUs were served mainly by dark fiber links, as fronthaul was closed and proprietary. Fortunately, 5G fronthaul is expected to be open and standards-based, which opens a new fronthaul services market for wholesale operators. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, Skills
By Al Presher – A key technology trend for automation and control in 2020 and beyond is the emergence of wireless communications including 5G, Wi-Fi 6, LoRaWAN and more. An obvious benefit for factory automation is the use of wireless communication for remote monitoring and remote operation of physical assets but an equally important benefit is an ability to replace cables, unreliable WiFi and the many industrial standards in use today.
One major step forward for wireless technologies in industrial communications is the recent certification of Wi-Fi 6. The announcement by the WiFi Alliance moves this technology ahead by enabling vendors to move toward the release of certified products, in advance of IEEE ratification process of IEEE 802.11ax expected to be completed in 2020.
Wireless vendors are anticipating that 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will be deployed together in smart manufacturing applications. They share technology that makes wireless solutions more deterministic, especially important for mission-critical IoT devices used in factory automation. The anticipated tiered release and extended timeline for 5G deployment is expected to result in Wi-Fi 6 rolling out more quickly than 5G. more>
Posted in Broadband, Communication industry, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Technology
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, Internet, Technology, WiFi-6
Meet your virtual avatar: the future of personalized healthcare
ITU News – Tingly? Sharp? Electric? Dull? Pulsing?
Trying to describe a pain you feel to your doctor can be a difficult task. But soon, you won’t have to: a computer avatar is expected to tell your doctor everything they need to know.
The CompBioMed Centre of Excellence, an international consortium of universities and industries, is developing a program that creates a hyper-personalized avatar or ‘virtual human’ using a supercomputer-generated simulation of an individual’s physical and biomedical information for clinical diagnostics.
There is a rapid and growing need for this kind of technology-enabled healthcare. 12 million people who seek outpatient medical care in the U.S. experience some form of diagnostic error. Additionally, the World Health Organization estimates that there will be a global shortage of 12.9 million healthcare workers by 2035.
Greater access to technology-enabled healthcare will allow doctors to make better and faster diagnoses – and provide the tools to collect the necessary data.
The Virtual Human project combines different kinds of patient data that are routinely generated as part of the current healthcare system, such as x-rays, CAT scans or MRIs to create a personalized virtual avatar. more>
Posted in Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, Cybersecurity, International Telecommunication Union, ITU, Machine learning, Technology
5G on stage in Barcelona
By Brian Lavallee – The theme of this year’s event is “Intelligent Connectivity” – the term we use to describe the powerful combination of flexible, high-speed 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and big data”. This clearly highlights that important fact that 5G is more than just a wireless upgrade. It’s also about updating the entire wireline network from radios to data centers, where accessed content is hosted, and everything in between.
This means the move to broad 5G-based mobile services and associated capabilities will be a multi-year journey requiring many strategic partnerships.
The multi-year journey towards ubiquitous 5G services will understandably be the star at MWC, and rightfully so.
There remains uncertainty about what technologies and architecture should be used for specific parts of the end-to-end 5G mobile network, such as the often discussed (and often hotly debated) fronthaul space.
Early 5G mobile services are already being turned up in many regions in the form of early deployments, field trials, and proofs of concept. These services are delivered in 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) configuration, which essentially hangs 5G New Radios (NRs) off existing 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networks. This allows for testing new 5G wireless technologies and jumpstarts critical Radio Frequency planning and testing.
It also means that most new wireline upgrades that are taking place now for 4G expansion and growth will also carry 5G wireless traffic to and from data centers. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Technology
Tagged 5G, AI, Artificial intelligence, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, Technology
By Kalyan Sundhar – The standards that dictate how 5G systems should work and interoperate were released earlier this year from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in an eagerly awaited update. The new telecommunications standards cleared the way for those planning to develop, build, or leverage 5G technology.
It is clear that a great deal of thought went into the development of the latest versions of the 5G standards to spur the growth of the 5G market and deliver new opportunities. Technology that follows these standards will ensure that the reliability of these networks is much more stable as it fills in the new market gaps.
This new version of the standards has opened the door for stand-alone (SA) 5G networks that do not rely on 4G for 5G signaling and kicking off a frantic rush to own the 5G market. While 4G networks are still available for added support, companies that do not have an existing 4G infrastructure can build their 5G deployments from scratch. This is due to a section of the standards that governs 4G handovers through interweaving 5G cells with existing 4G deployments.
The standards are only the foundation that will support the development of the 5G industry, but there is still plenty of work needed by companies to get it right. What that will look like is up to individual interpretation as there are gaps in the guidelines that make up the new standards. Interoperability will continue to be a challenge as organizations implement proprietary visions for 5G within those gaps. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, Internet, Productivity, Technology, Test & measurement
5 key wireline network improvements needed for 5G
By Brian Lavallee – Ask an end-user about how their phone connects to the network, and they’ll likely only talk about cellular or wireless technology, which is also where most of the current 5G industry hype is focused, and for good reason, as this is the first part of the network to be upgraded. However, the reality is that RAN (Radio Access Network) only makes up a small portion of the end-to-end path that data from a connected device must travel to provide connectivity. The rest of the path is primarily a fiber-optic transport network.
With 5G coming soon, featuring data rates as much as 100 times faster than what’s currently available, the wireline infrastructure that connects end-users (man and machine) to accessed content residing in data centers, must be ready to support upwards of 1,000 times more data flowing across it.
How can network operators prepare? Well, here are five key areas within the wireline network that will need to be upgraded and modernized to support 5G.
- Network Slicing
The move to 5G won’t be a simple network upgrade. It’s a long journey with a high-performance wireline network as the critical component to commercial success for both 4G strategies and the evolution toward 5G. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economy, Net, Telecom industry
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, Ciena, Internet, Technology, Wireless, Wireline
By Nitin Dahad – A manufacturer of III-V photonic devices claims to have proven the feasibility of 60-GHz radio over fiber (ROF) transmission at a 1,270-nm wavelength, paving the way to potential solutions for 5G networks.
CST Global, a Scotland-based subsidiary of Sivers IMA Holdings AB in Kista, Sweden, carried out the feasibility study as part of an EU Horizon 2020 research project. The project, iBROW (innovative ultra-broadband ubiquitous wireless communications through tera-hertz transceivers), was led by the University of Glasgow and managed within CST Global by research engineer Horacio Cantu.
The company says that ROF networks are emerging as a completely new and promising communication paradigm for delivering broadband wireless access services and fronthaul at 60 GHz, relying on the synergy between fixed optical and millimeter-wave technologies. ROF technology enables RF signals to be transported over fiber across kilometers and can be engineered for unity gain RF links. Hence, it is thought that it could do a lot to ease spectrum constraints, and it can replace multiple coax cables with a single fiber-optic cable. Among several benefits, ROF could also enhance cell coverage. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Net, Science, Technology, Telecom industry
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Business improvement, radio-over-fiber, ROF, Technology, Wireless, Wireline
Future of 5G
By Susan Friedman, Brian Lavallée – 5G is coming, and with it comes the expectation of wireless speeds that are 100X or more what we experience today with 4G. In fact, one of the goals of 5G is to achieve maximum download speeds of 10 Gbps per user. This influx of traffic won’t come without a cost to the underlying networks that support it.
To succeed, mobile network operators (MNOs) will need more than just a new radio access network, they will also need fiber—and lots of it – to manage the massive increase in bandwidth that will come as billions more users, both human and machine, join the network.
5G is expected to be deployed strategically in different locations, especially in the early days. If consumers are expecting all 3G and 4G networks to be replaced with 5G, they’ll be disappointed. 5G is expected to complement 3G/4G where it makes sense. And depending on where service providers believe applications and use cases will be most lucrative, they can roll out speeds of up to 10 Gb/s.
This means if you’re in a rural community, chances are you probably won’t get 5G in the early days. In cities and metro areas you’ll see potential applications like enhanced mobile broadband, self-driving cars, video broadcast services, and other use cases that will require high-bandwidth and/or low-latency. So, service providers will deploy 5G in geographic areas where it makes economic sense. more> https://goo.gl/kmxQSs
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Net, Technology, Telecom industry
Tagged 5G, Broadband, Ciena, Internet, Net evolution, Technology, Wireless